© and (P)2006 Orson Scott Card
I was very disappointed by this short story. I thought it would give some insight into how Bonzo Madrid turned out the way he did. Nope. It had almost nothing to do with the Ender saga, other than IF personnel dropping in for a sentence every now and then. It didn't even address the teaser description, which implied that "loving a child so much" was bad for him, presumably spoiling him. There was no indication in this story that Bonzo was spoiled.
What was Orson Scott Card thinking when he wrote and released this?
In “Children of the Mind” and now again in “Pretty Boy” OSC has a way of turning villains into real, almost likeable people.
I have despised Bonzo Madrid since I was 12. He was mean to Ender...Ender, whom I love! What’s not to hate about the guy? It is interesting to have my mind changed all these years later.
As I considered purchasing this audio book I was confronted by two previous and completely contrasting reviews, so I decided it was best to simply trust that Orson Scott Card would deliver another engaging and beautiful story, regardless of its relevance (or lack thereof) to his 'Ender' series.
The first line of the story is not obviously linked to the developments of the plot as such, and one can also make few assumptions about the story by scrutinising the title illustration. Without its link the the Ender universe, this story would probably not get so much attention, and I myself would not have chosen to listen if it weren't for my trust in the author's ability.
Nevertheless, 'Pretty Boy' is a sweet and beautifully written tale of a child trying to make sense of an adult world. The concept is not remarkably original, but Orson Scott Card's unique style and description of his protagonist's reasoning and thought processes makes it well worth a listen.
Scott Brick surprisingly pulls off the Spanish accent for the characters and reads with appropriate expression, invoking emotion without diminishing it through melodrama.
Not uplifting as such, but very pleasant tale.
I thought this story helped the reader of the Ender's Game story gain empathy for Bonzo Madrid, and ultimately feel sorry for him, knowing what eventually happens to him. I thought it was an intelligently written short story about the meanest character in Ender's Game, how the reader gets to see him in his childhood, who geniuely loved his parents and wanted them to be happy. That is also part of what makes Bonzo so scary, because he isn't a deranged misanthrop, but smart and charming kid who had never had any malice in him.
Anyway, I personally liked it, and I can't wait to read more of these Ender's Game shorts revealing other characters.
The length of the story is about the same length as Bean's life in Rotterdam (in Ender's Shadow), so there's a lot of good content to listen to. I wish it were longer and went in more depth with Bonzo's arrival at the Battle School, but I suppose it doesn't really need to.
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